WEF futures gathering closes with new initiatives from UAE government

Updated 12 November 2017

WEF futures gathering closes with new initiatives from UAE government

DUBAI: The World Economic Forum (WEF) wound up its two-day brainstorming session on future policy with commitments to new initiatives in technology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) by the government of the UAE.
The annual meeting of 700 thought-leaders from the WEF’s global future councils was formally closed by Mohammed Al-Gergawi, UAE minister for Cabinet affairs and the future, who announced a plan to develop a center for future readiness, and a global framework to assess progress toward it.
He also unveiled plans to create new positions as “future ambassadors” for the UAE, and to work towards global protocols for artificial intelligence and the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” — the WEF’s term for the rapid technological transformation of society and economies.
“This meeting is a key performance indicator for governments in the world. The commitment to the future continues to grow in momentum. A human-centric strategy, ministerial council and governance framework are now in place,” Al-Gergawi said.
He added that the Global Futures Councils would meet again to assess progress and decide on other initiatives next November. The WEF council on AI and robotics agreed to act as an adviser to the UAE’s new ministry for artificial intelligence.
The meeting also heard that young people in the Middle East expect a “massive disruption” to their lives and work patterns from changes in technology, but that many feel comfortable with living and working in an environment where robots exist alongside humans, according to a WEF survey.
The WEF polled 1,600 people between the ages of 18 and 35 in the summer, and found that 58 percent of them in the Middle East and North Africa expect to experience significant changes to their jobs and careers as a result of technological change, while 52 percent believe that studying and learning will be similarly affected. But 23 percent said they would trust a decision made by a robot on their behalf.
In the same survey, 24 percent of respondents said that they had shared a news article on the Internet or social media that they later learned was fake, with a further 17 percent admitting that they probably had done so without realizing it.
The gathering was told that the world’s cities have to become more active in influencing climate change policy, because they are responsible for 75 percent of global carbon emissions.
“Shanghai, Dhaka, Karachi, Hong Kong and Miami are literally going under water,” said Robert Muggah, research director of the Igarapé Institute, Brazil.
By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be urbanized. Tokyo’s GDP is already greater than that of Russia, South Korea or Canada.
“If we get our cities right, we just might achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals and we may limp through the 21st century, but if we get our cities wrong — we’re doomed,” he added.
“Global decision-making remains dominated by nation states. It’s time to offer the cities a place at the negotiating table. Cities also need greater freedom to solve their own problems by focusing on becoming greener and smarter,” said Muggah.
Jean Marie Guehenno, chief executive of Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said that cities are becoming more fragile, and urban violence is on the rise in many parts of the world.
Regional rivalries in the Middle East and Asia have become more pressing. “A function of the retreat of the US is that all countries feel more on their own,” he added, warning that this rising violence, along with unprecedented levels of forced migration, were posing major risks to developing countries.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.